Just below the village of Saignon was a deep purple lavender ocean, blowing its buds in the wind like waves. We stopped for a photo and noticed Saignon balancing above, on the top of a large rock formation like the bow of a giant ship.
We drove a little further up and found a mostly empty gravel parking lot at the base of the village. I grabbed my loaded backpack and we headed up. In these hilltop towns there are usually two parking options, below or above, so you just have to decide if you want your legs and lungs to burn first or last. My backpack was full of wine and food, so we figured we’d earn it.
In the heart of Saignon is a large fountain surrounded by an asymmetrical circle of five or six buildings with narrow pedestrian walkways spoking out in different directions between them. On this day there were some café patios with their umbrellas open and a few big shade trees that helped block the bright sun. There was an obviously local man reading a book next to a wall covered in vines, and a cat lounging just nearby in a pool of sun shining through the canopy.
There were definitely tourist shops here, but it felt less touristy than most. The only real tacky thing we saw was an old man sitting outside his shop with a dog tied up on a cot next to him and a homemade sign that read: “Photo- two Euros.” This guy had either been to Venice Beach, California, where every street vendor or act wants money for pictures or, going by this guy’s age, maybe someone from Venice Beach came here 50 years ago and got the idea from the old man!
On the way back past the old man, it looked like he had either fallen to sleep or died right in his chair. A snort and a coughing fit told us it was the former, but it didn’t really wake him from his nap. Alex took the occasion to snap a couple of free pictures while she had the chance.
Alex was my own personal travel photographer, possibly viewing more of the trip through her lens than through her naked eye. The sun suddenly shone through a hat shop and she stopped. The bright colors inside lured her to the front door. She snapped a few pics, only to be told sternly by the owner, “no photo!”
Funny, these folks are in business to sell things, and to sell things you need people to see them. Seems they would benefit from a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Fumbler, Bumbler or whatever kind of post people are into. A post sent around the world in seconds seems a lot more effective than sitting around in a small remote village waiting for someone to walk by and maybe, or maybe not, walk in. Hey, at least this guy stayed open during Siesta!